China Mobile and partners to build undersea cable connecting Africa and Middle East
Published: May 15, 2020 01:38 PM

An aerial photo taken on Monday shows the latest section of submarine cable being towed to Yushan Island in Zhoushan, East China's Zhejiang Province. The 18.35-kilometer cable, the second for the island, was completed on Sunday. There will be nine submarine cables for the island in total. Photo: cnsphoto

China Mobile, in partnership with US tech firm Facebook, South Africa's MTN, France's Orange, Britain's Vodafone and other network operators, will jointly construct a 37,000-kilometer-long underwater cable to bring enhanced network services to Africa and Middle East, which is home to 1.8 billion people, the Global Times learned from the Chinese carrier.

The project, dubbed 2Africa, will be one of the world's longest undersea cable projects. The cable has 21 landing points in 16 African countries, enabling the integration of networks in Africa, Europe and Middle East. A transfer station in East Africa will also connect with undersea Eurasia cables and extend further to Asia. 

2Africa is expected to be put into use by 2023 or 2024, with a designed capacity to exceed the total capacity of all undersea cables in Africa. The capacity at the core of the system could hit 180 terabits per second, which will meet the rapidly-growing demand for network access in Africa and Middle East. 

Gu Jian, a senior executive at China Mobile, told the Global Times that the project marks a significant step in the carrier's global expansion as the cables will extend further to Asia. 

China Mobile said that all investing parties have agreed to provide funding for the project. Meanwhile, all service providers are obligated to provide internet connectivity to open neutral data centers in every country where the undersea cable's landing point is built. 

Global Times